So, you’re getting married? Congratulations! However, take note: entering the married state has legal and financial implications for your benefits. It is important to review and address these benefit plan issues early on. We present here a very brief summary of the issues you need to understand to get a good start in your new life (so that you can get back to more important things, like fighting with the caterer).
- You should review your beneficiary designations for the Pension, Annuity, 401(k), and Health Funds. For the Pension, Annuity and 401(k) Funds, your spouse automatically becomes your beneficiary when you get married (unless (s)he has given written, notarized consent to the designation of a different beneficiary). You must file a new Designation of Beneficiary Form to designate your spouse as the beneficiary of the life insurance benefit provided by the Health and Benefit Fund.
- Review the Health and Benefit Fund’s coordination of benefits rules that govern how health care claims will be paid if each spouse has group health insurance.
- Review the rules for pre-retirement death benefits under the Pension Plan. You should be aware that the rules for married persons are different from those for single persons. When you get married, your spouse gains certain rights with regard to these benefits.
- For retirement planning purposes, you may want to become familiar with the Joint and Survivor forms of pension payments in order to understand your options and possibilities for your and your spouse’s lifetime income after retirement.